LightSquared to plan Next Generation Push-to-Talk for Public Safety

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LightSquared™, the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated 4G-LTE wireless broadband and satellite network, announced today a plan to ensure the nation’s public safety community continues to have satellite Push-to-Talk and other critical communications features that it has come to depend on as LightSquared moves to next generation satellite services.

LightSquared’s satellite network has played a critical role in federal, state and local public safety communications in emergencies dating back to 1996, including Hurricane Katrina and the recent series of devastating tornadoes that swept through Joplin, Missouri. LightSquared’s next generation satellite service will continue to ensure seamless communications among multiple law enforcement and public safety agencies at the federal, state and local levels. These agencies have come to depend on the reliable interoperable communications capabilities that LightSquared provides.

As part of this plan, LightSquared will:

  • Replace the current LightSquared public safety devices at no cost and continue tosupport older devices through 2014.
  • Work with the public safety community to design next generation LightSquared devices that meet the rugged standards demanded by public safety workers who work in a wide range of hostile conditions and environments.
  • Continue to support the Satellite Mutual Aid Radio Talkgroup (SMART) program on which public safety agencies nationwide rely to communicate.

“For police, fire and rescue, satellite communications is a critical backstop when traditional networks go down or become overloaded by demand during natural disasters and other emergencies. Public safety depends on satellite communications when other networks fail, and LightSquared’s investment in Push-to-Talk will literally help save lives in coming years,’’ said
Bob Spieldenner, director of public affairs, Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

LightSquared’s next generation mobile satellite communications service will continue to have full interoperability with multiple public safety networks around the nation, a critical tool in national and local emergencies. Ubiquitous interoperable communications has been a goal of the public safety community for many years and was highlighted immediately after the 2001 terror attacks when first responders were hindered in their ability to coordinate with each other because they used incompatible communications systems.

“In an emergency, the last thing public safety workers should have to worry about is their ability to communicate with each other. That’s why LightSquared is committed to the SMART program, ensuring that the men and women on the front lines have communication devices that connect them to each other or to a federal agency thousands of miles away,’’ said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and chief executive officer of LightSquared. In addition, LightSquared has formed its own Emergency Rapid Response Team that is prepared to travel to troubled areas to assist first responders at the local, state and federal level with interoperable satellite communications.

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